Crewe manager David Artell hit out at his players’ complacency after they threw away a three-goal first-half lead to draw 3-3 with Rochdale at the Crown Oil Arena.
The visitors looked home and dry after an Oliver Finney brace, either side of an Owen Dale goal, put Crewe on course for victory.
But Dale hit back in the second period through Aaron Morley and a Matty Lund double to claim a share of the spoils.
“It was the old cliched game of two halves and as good as we were first half and as clinical and as thorough, we didn’t do that in the second half,” said Artell.
“There were a few lads who thought the game was won after 45 minutes and that’s unacceptable in my book. The silver lining is that we kept our unbeaten run going because we didn’t lose, but it’s certainly two points dropped, that’s for sure.
“The players were frustrated at the end and they didn’t need me to tell them, although I did, that the second half just wasn’t us.
“When you are 3-0 up you still need to make sure you do what you need to do and answer any questions that the opposition ask of you. It was bitterly disappointing.”
Finney opened the scoring after six minutes when he met Travis Johnson’s cross to fire past Gavin Bazunu. Dale came back strongly and dominated possession – but were twice sucker-punched by Crewe’s blistering counter attacks.
Dale doubled the lead after good work from Charlie Kirk and Finney in the 23rd minute and it was 3-0 in the 35th minute after Kirk raced forward and teed up Finney for his second.
But the hosts pulled one back within two minutes of the restart as Aaron Morley’s goalbound cross may have had a touch from Stephen Humphrys on its way in.
Lund side-footed their second on the hour mark after being set up by Jake Beesley and doubled his tally for the afternoon in the 84th minute, crashing the ball into the roof of the net following a Morley corner to earn the point.
Crewe still had chances at the other end, Bazunu tipping Dale’s cross onto the post while the visitors were frustrated to be awarded a penalty for handball only to see it wiped off after the referee consulted his linesman.
“I felt we had relative control in the first half but Crewe are so devastating on the counter attack and we probably fell into the trap of making a couple of critical errors leading up to their goals,” said Dale boss Brian Barry-Murphy.
“I think it was just important at half time to take stock and try to understand where their main danger was and try to be as aggressive as we could.
“That’s easier said than done, I thought our players were amazing in the second half the way they kept attacking and were willing to lose heavily at the risk of trying to get something out of the game.”